For centuries, Italy has provided services and financial support for its citizens through private, parochial and federal means. After World War II, strong local initiatives emerged, especially in areas that already had established traditions of supporting families and children. A post-war initiative in Reggio Emilia, Italy gave birth to the parent-run schools we now know as the Reggio Emilia preschools.
Reggio Emilia, a small city with a population just under 150,000, is located between Modena and Parma in Emilia Romagna, one of the largest and most affluent regions in northern Italy. According to Reggio Emilia’s Department of Education (1990), Emilia Romagna is recognized as having one of the most highly developed and subsidized social-services systems in Italy, especially in the area of child welfare.